The Lifestyle

The Menu: Hutong


This Northern Chinese restaurant in DIFC brings a delectable menu in an urban setting

Words by Aneesha Rai in The Lifestyle · Sep 30th, 2022

Listed in the Michelin Guide, Hutong in DIFC checks a lot of boxes for a fine dining experience- starting from its impressive decor and design by Fabled Studio, all the way to its fiery Northern Chinese dishes and specially crafted cocktails. 

Through the mountainous province of Xinjiang to the borders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and beyond, we discover the presence of the mighty Qing Dynasty, whose culture has been embedded in the restaurant. An Imperial empire that established the Manchus against the Dzungars and bought unity to their warring factions through great feasts, the Qing emperors were patrons of ‘The Four Arts’ Qin (The Art of the Stringed Instrument), Qi (The Art of the Strategy Game), Shu (The Art of Calligraphy) & Hua (The Art of Painting) which has been represented within the restaurant’s design. Inspiration from these border provinces as cultural and religious melting pots has been drawn to embody the crossover between the Chinese and Islamic worlds. For our 'The Menu' section, we chat with Maxime Legeard, general manager at Hutong on the design merits of the restaurant and its delectable food, of course. Also included is a recipe for their famous Kung Pao Prawn.

Maxime: Hutong Dubai is a unique venue specially designed with a lot of intricate detail, thought, and care. The design of the restaurant is inspired by the silk road heritage, particularly around Xinjiang in the west of China and Kyrgyzstan, as this was a fascinating meeting point and a melting pot for Arabic and Chinese cultures. 

Hutong Private dining

Maxime: As guests step foot in Hutong, they will feel a sense of calmness, luxury, and exclusivity. This fusion between the Middle East and Asian cultures is depicted in the beautiful brick designs on the wall, inspired by the mosques in China. The wooden screens in the restaurant represent coins, a sign of good fortune, the Ankh on the back of the chair represents the main sign of our group, "Aqua Restaurant Group", and the glass mirror in the Private Dining Room is encrusted with some Chinese paysages and stories. Lastly, in the middle of the restaurant, we have a large, delicate, and charming wishing tree, guests may hang their wishes on the tree, and the higher they hang it, the more chance there is for good fortune.

Our handcrafted sandstone wall is inspired by the towering Emin Minaret from Urumqi in Xinjiang. Guests can also admire towering 15-foot-high wooden screens surrounding the dining area, which have been hand-carved in China and shaped in Arabic design, with delicate Chinese carvings on the interior representing clouds.

DIFC is a central part of Dubai’s landscape, not only being the leading financial hub for the Middle East, it serves as a host to various world-renowned food and beverage outlets. The cultural significance of DIFC makes it the ideal location for Hutong, especially given that many of its visitors travel throughout other international financial capitals such as New York, London, and Hong Kong – all of which are home to the Hutong brand.

Hutong Terrace

Kung Pao Prawn

Maxime: Our delicious and mouth-watering Kung Pao Prawn is derived from Kung Pao Chicken. Our version of this iconic dish replaces the chicken with prawns and uses a combination of sweet and fiery flavours from lychee and Sichuan chillies. Our high-quality prawns are lightly fried and then wok-tossed with vinegar, sugar, Sichuan Chillies, and a few Chef's secret ingredients. This dish is served with cashew nuts coated with white roasted sesame to add a crispness. According to the legend, Kung Pao Chicken was invented by Ding Baozhen during the Guangxu period of the Qin Dynasty, formally called ‘Ding Kung Pao’.

Kung Pao Prawn


Sugar 14g 

Flour 72g 

Water 30ml 

Potato Starch 5g 

White Vinegar 8ml 

Baking Powder 5g 

Soya Sauce 15ml 

Wheat Starch 4g

Sesame Oil 1ml 

Water 120ml 

Sichuan Pepper Oil 1ml 

Ginger 5g 

Onion 5g 

Chili 2g


Flour 72g 

Potato Starch 5g

Baking Powder 5g 

Wheat Starch 4g 

Water 120ml


- Season the Prawns with Salt and Potato Starch for 5mins 

- Coat the Prawns with the Batter 

- Deep-fry the Prawns in 180C cooking oil until golden brown 


- Using a wok, toast the onion, ginger, and chili 

- In the same wok, mix all the liquid ingredients of the sauce 

- Put the potato starch mixed with water gradually until the sauce is consistent 

- Once the Kung Po Sauce is ready, mix with the Prawns in the same wok 

- Finally, add the cashew nuts on top

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